NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The defense and prosecution offered their closing arguments Thursday in the sex abuse trial of prominent Brooklyn ultra Orthodox leader Nechemya Weberman.
Weberman, 54, smiled as he left the courthouse with his wife, seeming upbeat. But it could be his last night as a free man, CBS 2′s Sean Hennessey reported.
The jury will soon decide if Weberman used his Brooklyn home office as the place where he sexually abused a young girl he was counseling.
But with no physical or forensic evidence, the panel must decide whether to believe the rabbinical counselor or a teen girl who testified that she was abused for three years.
“From the time she was 12, he began sexually abusing her,” prosecutors said during closing arguments. They also alleged Weberman “wanted his sexual needs satisfied and he made her comply.”
Prosecutor Linda Weinman read large portions of the now-married teen’s testimony back to jurors, underscoring how the case relies largely on what the teen said.
Supporters of the counselor find it curious why the accuser was silent for so long, CBS 2′s Hennessey reported.
“Three years and no one should know? Why shouldn’t she tell it to anyone? A father, a friend, someone,” Zad Krausz told Hennessey.
Prosecutors said she was a scared girl with no options, telling the jury that “she had absolutely nobody she could turn to. And he knew that.”
Weberman’s defense argued that the 17-year-old’s case is “all about revenge.”
During testimony, the defense argued that the accuser was upset because she believed Weberman told her father about her boyfriend, something forbidden in the insular Satmar community.
The teen’s father had the boy arrested but he was later released.
“When she felt she had been betrayed, she went wild,” the defense argued during closing statements. “She made things up in front of you. She testified to things she never told police or the prosecution.”
The accuser’s family has stood by her, attending every day of the trial to ensure justice is done, Hennessey reported.
“I come from a community where women have no justice. Women are not believed and I’m hoping the United States of America will show me that there is justice,” the accuser’s aunt, Giddy Goldman, told Hennessey.
On Friday morning, the jury will be given instructions on the sexual abuse charges and then will begin deliberations.
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